So, we have a “new” aeroplane, that Eric and Michael are sitting in, practicing checklists before the next phase of the test flying program after the Christmas break. Skybase has developed a great rhythm and things are humming along nicely!
The aeroplane in the photo is currently undergoing its ‘upgrade’ with our retrofit kit, to Take the Pilot out of the Plane (i.e. this allows a pilot to monitor the automated flight of the unmanned aircraft from the ground). This is super useful for getting the aeroplane to do things it couldn’t do with a pilot onboard (e.g. fly at low level at night time or in cloud). This will revolutionise all areas of aviation over the coming decades. We tip our hats to our competitors in the industry who also go boldly into this frontier!
Of course, as this is the first time this has been done for this aircraft type, the first phase of the flight testing will be done with a pilot onboard to supervise that the installation has been done correctly. This build-up approach is industry-standard and is a good indication of approaching things with an aviation mindset, and this is why we have recruited such experienced aviators for the task. After all, the famous aviation truism is that “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots. But there are no old and bold pilots”.
The test flying has/is being done in beautiful New Zealand, which has the toughest environments to test systems in, and this attracts problem solvers. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is also a world-leader in promoting ‘new aviation’ and has the flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing industry. Skybase CEO, Michael Read is also the Secretary of Aerospace New Zealand (currently operating as Aerospace Christchurch) and we are growing the industry in New Zealand for a number of globally strategic reasons.
This is the first aircraft that will be used in Locust Spraying- a task we are driven to do. Millions of people are already starving as a result of the Worst Locust Plague in History, and we are doing something about it (click the link and watch the video).
Being able to fly the spray aircraft from the ground means that the operation can continue at night time, when the locusts are on the ground (they fly around during the day and make it very difficult to spray).
If you want to help us save the food supply of 10 million people, in 2021, then get in contact on firstname.lastname@example.org or one of the phone numbers here.